Palm Tree Protection
Winter weather and palm trees don't mix. Our tropical friend can suffer damage when the temperature dips at night and when it drops fast; that's even worse news. This blog goes over how to spot damage, how to protect your palms, and even gives you a reason to unpack the Christmas lights that you just put away.
Check for cold damage
Hard freezes aren't your only concern. Yes, they are the worst-case scenario; temperatures below thirty-two degrees are palm killers, but trees can show signs of chill damage when the nighttime temperature hovers around forty-five degrees, which is quite common. The first thing to look for is dead and discolored leaves. Chilling injuries may also lead to more significant issues if the temperatures drop close to freezing.
If you do see dead fronds, don't do what may come naturally to you. Fight your instinct to cut it. We know it's difficult; big yellow leaves aren't pretty, but trust us, they serve winter purposes. The threat of cold weather is still around. The dead leaves will help protect the rest of the tree. So, for your palms sake, put the saw away.
Leaves aren't the only damage to watch. How's the trunk? Soft, reddish areas are bad news. Cold-damaged trunks are prime targets for fungus and other bacteria that can lead to trunk rot, a horrible condition that could cause the tree's beautiful canopy to collapse.
Next, inspect the spear leaf. That's the long skinny one that grows out of the top of the tree. It should be green and healthy; if it's easy to pull out and has a foul odor, old man winter got to it. The spear leaf is the life of the palm; freezes don't only hurt the leaf, like for the trunk, it exposes the tree to bacteria concerns. The best game plan to save the spear leaf is cooper fungicide, lots of copper fungicide.
Protect your palm
When you know we're in for some cold nights, the first thing to do is get mulch. A thick layer of it between three to six inches away from the tree's base will keep the soil warm. The following two things to pick up may sound unconventional, but they work.
While you're getting the mulch at the store, walk down the plumbing aisle and pick up some water pipe insulation. Wrap the center spear and the first three to six leaves with the insulation. Be sure to fold the top over to ensure that no water gets inside.
When it's going to get really cold, try the Christmas tree light trick. Wrap up as many leaves as you can in burlap or a cloth, tie them up with the lights, and then plug them in. The heat from the lights should be enough to keep your tree warm. This trick doesn't work with LED lights.
Contact the palm pros
Don't worry; it's Florida, the cold won't last forever. Your palm tree will be pretty again in no time. Remember, if you need a pro to check out your palms or want some help saving one or a bunch of them, give us a call and one word of advice; if your trees show signs of cold damage, please don't wait too long.